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Mass General Brigham Supports Martha’s Vineyard Communication Ambassador Partnership with $50,000 Grant for Interpreter Services

5 minute read

To support patients on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass General Brigham has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Communication Ambassador Partnership of Martha’s Vineyard (CAP). The grant will support current and future qualified interpreters to provide services to impact access, equity and patient satisfaction at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital while promoting greater cultural understanding.

CAP, an interagency collaboration whose mission is to provide in-language and in-culture access to all multilingual community members, was formed early during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the ongoing need for timely and inclusive communication for all island residents. CAP offers equitable language access for multilingual community members through interpretation, translation, and relevant communication channels. CAP operates in cooperation with local funders with Dukes County serving as fiscal agent. 

“We know that patients achieve better health outcomes when they communicate with their medical team in the same language. Through our United Against Racism plan we are committed to increasing access to interpreter services and written translation to provide excellent medical care and equity for our patients,” said Elsie M. Taveras, M.D., MPH, Chief Community Health and Health Equity Officer at Mass General Brigham. “We are thrilled to partner with CAP to provide long term language access and support.”

Over the last 10 years, English learners at Martha’s Vineyards public schools have grown from 70 students to approximately 500 students. These English language learners have primarily been Brazilian or Brazilian-American. The demographics of the school population is a common metric used to benchmark changing community demographic patterns.

In light of this ongoing trend, the grant’s goal is to support the creation of a Community Interpreting Course, designed specifically for Martha’s Vineyard high school students. The students will be offered professional development and specialized educational opportunities building on entry-level Medical Interpreter training. The goal of the course is to create a CAP talent pipeline. The benefit of working with local students is building a workforce of local interpreters who understand the complexities of living on the Island —providing both language access and cultural context to bridge communication gaps.

“We are dedicated and committed to delivering the best care to address the needs of our community,” said MVH President and CEO Denise Schepici. “CAP has demonstrated success in recruiting, training and retaining interpreters throughout the Island and we look forward to this important partnership.”

“CAP has helped bridge communication barriers for patients accessing school registration, Covid-19, and vaccine related information and services. We have grown to be a trusted resource for information and support for the multilingual community,” said Leah Palmer, CAP co-founder.

“Our language services create connections across cultures, literacy levels, and languages. We are working to develop a pipeline of qualified trained interpreters to provide support for the island into the future,” said Sheryl Taylor, CAP co-founder.

Media contact

Tim Sullivan,
Media Relations, Mass General Brigham

About CAP

CAP works towards its mission of accessibility for all Martha’s Vineyard residents to resources, information, and opportunities in the pursuit of equity by supporting community organizations to provide language access to all on Martha’s Vineyard, by breaking down the barriers of inaccessibility to resources, information, and opportunities, and by building communication bridges between English-speaking and multilingual community members.

About Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic healthcare system, uniting great minds in medicine to make life-changing impact for patients in our communities and people around the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, including Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a non-profit organization that is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information, please visit massgeneralbrigham.org.